My mind wandered recently, and I found myself thinking about the seven dwarfs from the fairy tale Snow White—and how much they remind me of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. I’m not suggesting that any of the dwarfs had multiple sclerosis, but that their personalities and some physical traits resemble people living with MS. I know it’s a little strange, but allow me to explain…
Let’s start with Doc, the leader of all the dwarfs. Many people living with MS are brave and outspoken. They are knowledgeable, authoritative, and not afraid to voice their opinions. They empower others to speak up for themslves. Just like Doc.
Next we have Sneezy. People living with MS can be very susceptible to colds and flu due to having weakened immune systems. This is the element of MS that affects me the most.
Sleepy is all of us that find fatigue an issue. Some would say we’re lethargic at times.
Dopey is very clumsy, and there is no one better at being clumsy than me. When we were first together, my partner Tony described me as the only person that cannot walk through a door without bashing off both sides of the doorframe. This was years before I was diagnosed. I still make him feel bad for saying it every now and then, though!
Grumpy is how I am every morning. I am a terrible sleeper like many people who have pain or get up to use the bathroom repeatedly at night. Approach me with caution in the morning. I need to be left alone until I fully wake up!
Bashful is the shy and sweet dwarf. In general, I don’t see myself as bashful but sometimes, in a crowd, I would rather be at home. It can be a bit overwhelming.
Happy speaks for itself. Although multiple sclerosis is a disorder that can make us prone to mood swings, we can also be happy like everybody else. The dwarf Happy reminds us how important it is to stay upbeat.
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